Read with Me: An Annotated Guide to Hollywood Homicide Chapters 1 – 5

My friend Rosey had the great idea to annotate a copy of Hollywood Homicide for a giveaway. I thought I’d take it one step further and share some insights in a blog post as well. (And I’m not just doing this because my handwriting is atrocious!)

Here’s some “insider info” on the first five chapters.

Warning: This does contain slight spoilers if you haven’t already read these chapters. It doesn’t ruin anything beyond these chapters though. I hope.


It was created by an amazing artist named Richard Meril. You can see more of his work on his Instagram page.


Title Page:

Hollywood Homicide is actually my third title. It started off as IOU (and there’s still a heavy acronym theme throughout the book.) My agent suggested we change it. A friend came up with using Day in the title. Second title was Pay Day. However, my publisher changed it again to give a better sense of the world of the book.

As you see, the day theme lives on with the series title: Detective by Day.

Chapter 1:

This wasn’t my original opening. Day’s still interviewing for a job but it was for a temporary corporate gig. My agent, Michelle, suggested changing it. This was is so much funnier.

Page 3: “I’m a six.” If it was really, really, really, really, really stretchy.

When I was at Vibe, a certain A-list diva’s stylist used the “if it’s stretchy” line when discussing clothing options for a cover. I knew I had to use that somewhere.

Page 4: Day’s Backstory

Day’s backstory was inspired by someone I knew when I first moved to LA. This person had a cushy gig as a spokesperson for a well-known store franchise. The role called for the person to act a bit of a fool in the commercials. But when finished acting a fool, they sure drove off in their fancy luxury car to their fancy luxury apartment.

Page 5: Day’s no curse rule.

I curse so much I consider it a hobby, so Day not cursing is always really hard for me to write. I have her use the word Fudge a lot but it’s not the same thing!

Chapter 2:

Page 9: The Flashback

This was originally a prologue but my lovely mentor, Sarah Henning, suggested we change it during Pitch Wars. Like the opening, I think it’s so much better here.

Page 15: NorthWest and Foreclosure

I actually didn’t name the loss mitigation firm after Kim and Kanye’s daughter.

The backstory with the parents was mentioned in passing in initial drafts but wasn’t a major part of the story. We changed it after my agent came aboard. Not to sound like a broken record but it was another note that made the story stronger.

Chapter 3:

Page 27: She’d read that the stylist for singer/rapper Kandy Wrapper always took pics of her client to ensure her outfits looked good in photos.

I, too, read about a stylist doing this. This is probably our first hint at Sienna’s intense desire to be famous, which is a prominent subplot in the book.

Page 27: Sienna’s Description.

I’ve always pictured Sienna looking a bit like Jessica Szohr.

JESSICA SZOHR at Pencils of Promise Gala

Chapter 4

Page 31: Aubrey’s Introduction

He’s the only character that I didn’t have a celeb in mind when I was writing how he looked.  I still don’t. (Any ideas?)

His outfit, however, is based on a friend’s roommate. He used to bike at night so he would wear one.

Page 39: Emme’s Backstory

Emme and Sienna were actually one character. When I split them off, Emme’s backstory came from one simple question: What would happen if one of the Olsen twins quit acting right after Full House ended?

 Chapter 5:

Page 42: Emme’s Necklace

I got this idea from my mom. She “repurposed” a few of her favorite pieces of jewelry into new and improved necklaces.

Page 43: Stephanie Dimsey

That is my subtle shout-out to two members of my Writers’ Group (and two of my best friends): Stephanie Dodson and Mocumba Dimsey.

If you want to keep reading, you can find the annotated guide to chapters 6 through 10.

2 thoughts on “Read with Me: An Annotated Guide to Hollywood Homicide Chapters 1 – 5

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